Lovable English eccentric Robyn Hitchcock often finds himself in remarkable situations, from 2008’s expedition to Greenland to study climate change to co-starring in Jonathan Demme films "The Manchurian Candidate," "Rachel Getting Married" and the concert documentary "Storefront Hitchcock." A few months ago, while visiting his daughter Maisie in Berlin, he unexpectedly went with her and Michael Stipe to Yoko Ono’s birthday party, where he and Stipe ended up singing "Give Peace a Chance" onstage. "I had no idea I was going, so I was wearing a V-neck sweater. I had no time to put a nice shirt on!" says the singer, writer and thespian, who will appear as Mad Reg in the film "Treatment" and is touting a new solo album, "Love From London." Speaking of birthdays …
Your Fillmore gig this week is billed as "Viva Hitchcock! A 60th Birthday Celebration," with tons of guest stars. But your actual birthday is March 3. Judging by the huge roster, the stage may collapse during the grand finale. How did you spend your real birthday?
Your Fillmore gig this week is billed as "Viva Hitchcock! A 60th Birthday Celebration," with tons of guest stars. But your actual birthday is March 3.We had a celebration in London, too, with me performing one song from every album. So this is actually very different — this is a bunch of people doing my songs, mostly younger performers, and Colin Meloy is kind of curating it. So he’s doing it, Amanda Palmer and Rhett Miller are doing it, and then I’m going to be wheeled out in my little glass cage and play some songs at the end with The Venus 3, and then we’ll do a finale.
Judging by the huge roster, the stage may collapse during the grand finale.Yeah. We might have to have everybody stand in various places around the balcony, so the weight is evenly dispersed. Although I don’t know how much anybody actually weighs — we should probably weigh the talent at the very beginning.
How did you spend your real birthday?We drove around London on a vintage double-decker bus, with various old friends of mine, including Nick Lowe and Green Gartside from Scritti Politti. And we sang songs. We went to Abbey Road and sang in the street, and then we went to Waterloo Bridge and sang "Waterloo Sunset," and then we all ended up in this pub.
How does 60 feel?Well, it’s not like all the leaves fall off the tree overnight. You go through these little portals slowly enough to see what’s happening. But every so often, you look in the mirror or at photographs, and time is written all too clearly on your face. And the alternative is just to die, which we’re all going to do anyway. So I’m incredibly lucky that people care enough about me that I got to have two 60th birthday concerts, plus an actual birthday!
A 60th Birthday Celebration for Robyn Hitchcock
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com